Over 40 Percent of Armenians Below Poverty Line

Sociologist Aharon Adibekyan is executive director at Sociometer research center


YEREVAN (Arka)—An estimated 42 percent of people in Armenia are living below the poverty line, according to a study conducted in 2013 by the Sociometer research center.

Speaking at a news conference, director of the research center Aharon Adibekyan said poor citizens are those who live on less than $2 a day, a poverty criterion established by the United Nations.

Accordingly, those who live on less than $1 a day are considered extremely poor,” said Adibekyan, adding that some 10 percent of Armenians are deemed as such.

However, only half of those living below the poverty line consider themselves poor, Adibekyan, a sociologist by profession, said. He described this as a “psychological defense mechanism” of the people.

“Thirteen percent of Armenia’s population is rich. However, only 2% of them consider themselves rich. Thus, the portion of citizens with modest living standards who can be considered as middle class is more than 40 percent,” said Adibekyan.

Adibekyan says the main problem of Armenian society is that it is mostly the middle class that chooses to emigrate, resulting in an extremely polarized society divided between the very rich and the very poor.

According to the sociologist, the other problem is that the only sources of income for about 17 percent of Armenian families are money remittances sent by their relatives working abroad.

“The fathers of around 300,000 children in Armenia live and work abroad. This will lead to very negative consequences in the future,” he says.

According to the Central Bank, the amount of individual non-commercial remittances to Armenia via banks in the first eight months of 2014 surged by 1.2 percent from a year earlier to over $1.16 billion.

According to the latest data from the ministry of finance, in 2013 the poverty rate was 32.1 percent, while the rate of extreme poverty was 2.7 percent.

According to the National Statistical Service, the poverty rate in Armenia in 2012 was 32.4 percent, an increase of 17.4 percent from 2008.

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9 Comments

  1. Susan said:

    This does not surprise me, it’s pretty sad that only a few wealthy family members in Armenia are controlling the whole population and what’s even sadder is that they call themselves Armenians and Christians. As an Armenian, why should i be living in the US if i can live in my own country with my own people and heritage. No, God forbid that Armenians help one another, that would be too much for them. As a person that enjoys helping others, i am disgusted with my own people and sometimes even ashamed to say, i am Armenian.
    What kind of a future do our children have?

    • www.Voskanapat.info said:

      What is the percentage of Armenians below poverty line in the US or France? I mean real money, not car loans, mortgages, and credit cards “wealth.”

      Try to write “Are you hungry?” in Armenian on a poster and drive around homeless camps in LA in a truck full of sandwiches. See how many people wave “iO.”

      This is actually half of the problem because in the US people are also poor in human relationships capital that they can’t borrow from banks.

      More and more diaspora Armenians realize this and move to the “poverty stricken” Armenia – check this out: http://repatarmenia.org/eng/

      But you would never find their stories in the Diaspora’s “Cuban Twitter” media…

      • vartan said:

        it’s not correct what you are saying. Poverty is often especially in EU countries an relative term . Somebody that is poor in France can afford: Appartment /TV/university / medical assistance…all this is paid by the gouvernment. So he is relatively poor compared to the average salary/fortune in france but somebody in his situation in armenia would be considered as rich. Somebody poor in armenia can’t pay an important operation which costs 2000 $ , he can’t afford to send his children to university , he can’t pay in winter the astronomic gas bills. So don’t compare poor in france and poor in armenia .

        Yes of course there are opprotunities in armenia but to explore it you need money and to take a lot of risks . So for the average citizen in armenia it is very diffucult.
        Repatarmenia , how many are returning ? 40k are leaving each year

        • www.Voskanapat.info said:

          So, basically your argument is that Western welfare states offer better freebies for their poor and disadvantaged. That comes at the price of robbing the rest of the word and bombing the hell out of it!! And statistically speaking we still have one US military veteran “emigrating” from this country by committing suicide EVERY single hour round-the-clock every day of the year!

          During the Soviet times Armenia could afford that sort of welfare and had population explosion with apartments/TV/universities/medical assistance for everyone. Now we have a NATO imposed economic blockade and a bunch of USAID-“sponsored” polls and “40k statistics” constantly showing doom and gloom.

          At the same time how many people in the US can’t pay for an important operation or go to university?

          In poor Armenia… a French supermarket giant Carrefour just moved to capture an exploding market share and I suspect not for some charitable reason – http://arka.am/en/news/business/first_carrefour_hypermarket_to_be_opened_in_armenia_in_autumn/

          And state of the art hospital opened in Stepanakert, Artsakh this year: http://asbarez.com/126021/a-healthcare-hub-where-fire-once-rained/

          • Avetis said:

            Not to mention the fact that the Western world has had a few hundred years head start of our small, impoverished, landlocked, remote and blockaded nation in one of the most volatile environments in the world. It nevertheless angers me greatly when grown adults foolishly compare the capabilities of a well-established global empire with that of a little, fledgeling and embattled nation.

            Armenia today is doing much better than it should have been doing under its circumstances. For that we have to thank Armenian resilience and Mother Russia.

            PS: I’m very impressed with your political literacy.

  2. Armenian said:

    Looking forward to an even larger gap between rich and poor once the bogus tariffs on non-EEU countries start to kick in; then the poor wont be able to buy anything at all and live in a perpetual state of misery. Slava Rossiya! Thank you for saving us!

    • Sarkis said:

      The Israeli-Armenian expert Kevin Abrahamian recently gave a presentation along the same lines.

  3. Sokimag said:

    The statistics are alarming. The government of Armenia is doing nothing to help the situation in Armenia. How can they continue to rule the land like that? Too much Armenians are leaving Armenia. Something must be done.

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